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PULA 2021 Awards

A Blue Flower comes on top in the Pula competition

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- Zrinko Ogresta’s latest film dominates the artistic and critical categories, while Dalibor Matanić’s The Dawn clears out the technical ones

A Blue Flower comes on top in the Pula competition
Zrinko Ogresta, director of A Blue Flower, with his award (© Pula Film Festival)

The 68th edition of the Pula Film Festival (17-24 July) saw only six competition titles, two of which were world premieres and two more national. Most of the titles were directed by seasoned filmmakers or directors with a certain international reputation, so the competition could have been described as fierce. Zrinko Ogresta’s newest film A Blue Flower [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Zrinko Ogresta
film profile
]
eventually came on top at the ceremony which took place on Friday, 27 July in the well-known ancient Arena. This outcome could be seen as a bit of surprise, since Antoneta Alamat Kusijanović’s feature debut Murina [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Antoneta Alamat Kusijanović
film profile
]
was seen as a clear favourite after its Golden Camera win at Cannes.

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Ogresta’s film won three jury awards: for Best Film, Best Direction and Best Lead Actress (Vanja Ćirić in the role of Mirjana), adding also the FIPRESCI award to the tally. Numbers-wise, the jury awards were dominated by Dalibor Matanić’s The Dawn [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Dalibor Matanić
film profile
]
, which scooped four awards, all of them in technical categories (Best Sound Design, Best Music, Best Editing and Best Cinematography). Murina ended up winning two awards: Danica Ćurčić was named the Best Actress in a Supporting Role, while Antoneta Alamat Kusijanović got the Breza award for the Best Directing Debut. One more film with multiple awards was Branko Schmidt’s Once We Were Good for You [+see also:
film review
film profile
]
, which won the awards for Best Actor in a Leading Role (René Bitorajac in the role of Dinko) and Best Screenplay (written by Schmidt, Sandra Antolić and Ognjen Sviličić). Two films ended up with empty pockets, Stanislav Tomić’s comedy Tune Up and Mario Vrbančić’s independently produced micro-budget drama Manhattan Odyssey.

In the international competition, the jury awards were divided among four films. Radu Jude’s Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Radu Jude
film profile
]
was awarded as the best Croatian minority co-production and for the best Croatian contribution to a minority co-production. Uberto Pasolini’s Nowhere Special [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Uberto Pasolini
film profile
]
won the Golden Arena award in the international competition as well as the Audience Award for best film. Jenni Toivoniemi was awarded a Special Mention for directing Games People Play [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
. The FIPRESCI award went to Ben Sharrock’s Limbo [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Ben Sharrock
film profile
]
, while Miloš Avramović’s South Wind 2 – Speed Up got the Croatian Audiovisual Centre award for its “joint development of co-productions and the audience”, as it was stated.

Here is the complete list of award winners:

Croatian Film Competition

Grand Golden Arena
A Blue Flower [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Zrinko Ogresta
film profile
]
– Zrinko Ogresta (Croatia/Serbia)

Golden Arena for Best Director
Zrinko Ogresta – A Blue Flower

Golden Arena for Best Screenplay
Branko Schmidt, Sandra Antolić, Ognjen Sviličić – Once We Were Good For You [+see also:
film review
film profile
]
(Croatia/Bosnia and Herzegovina)

Golden Arena for Best Actress in a Leading Role
Vanja Ćirić – A Blue Flower

Golden Arena for Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Danica Ćurčić – Murina [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Antoneta Alamat Kusijanović
film profile
]
(Croatia/Slovenia/USA/Brazil)

Golden Arena for Best Actor in a Leading Role
René Bitorajac – Once We Were Good for You

Golden Arena for Best Cinematography
Marko Brdar – The Dawn [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Dalibor Matanić
film profile
]
(Croatia/Italy)

Golden Arena for Best Editing
Tomislav Pavlic – The Dawn

Golden Arena for Best Music
Alen Sikauz, Nenad Sinkauz – The Dawn

Golden Arena for Best Sound Design
Mirko Perri, Julij Zornik – The Dawn

Breza Award for Best Debutant
Antoneta Alamat Kusijanović – Murina

International Competition

Golden Arena for Best Film
Nowhere Special [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Uberto Pasolini
film profile
]
– Uberto Pasolini (UK/Italy/Romania)

Special Mention for Directing
Jenni Toivoniemi – Games People Play [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
(Finland)

Golden Arena for Best Croatian Minority Co-Production
Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Radu Jude
film profile
]
– Radu Jude (Romania/Luxembourg/Czech Republic/Croatia)

Golden Arena for Best Croatian Contribution to a Minority Co-Production
Ankica Jurić Tilić – Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn

Other Awards

Golden Gate of Pula (Audience Award) National Competition
Murina – Antoneta Alamat Kusijanović

Audience Award International Competition
Nowhere Special – Uberto Pasolini

FIPRESCI Award National Competition
A Blue Flower – Zrinko Ogresta

FIPRESCI Award International Competition
Limbo [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Ben Sharrock
film profile
]
– Ben Sharrock (UK)

Croatian Audiovisual Centre (HAVC) Special Recognition
South Wind 2 – Speed Up – Miloš Avramović (Serbia, Croatia)

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